The lights are on
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UPDATE-After reviewing some facts, I'll retract my statement about Sony completely lying to their fans-how I interpreted it was that Sony said they were not allowing any form of blocking used games on the PS4, and so saying that publishers could afterwards was a lie. I see what people are talking about, but the fact does still stand that I don't think Sony should've acted like they were tons better than Microsoft, as they allow publishers to make the choice, just like Microsoft. I apologize for any confusion.
Disclaimer: I am not saying that EVERYONE is totally ignorant of the facts, nor is everyone evil and against Nintendo. I am simply stating my observations about the industry, currently. I am not saying you, who is reading this, falls into the ignorance-nor am I saying that a specific type of gamer falls into that group. If you feel uncomfortable with what I write, I am sorry, and will give you a formal apology. Though, I might be overreacting with this disclaimer...I'm not really going to try and bash anyone...so, whatever.
I also use several sources for this blog-more so than usual. They will all be linked in accordingly at where I mention them.
This basically sums up my argument, but not all of it. So, please don't judge the blog based off this one image.
Recently in the industry, we've seen quite a bit of controversy over such things as used games, always-online policies, and other controversial anti-consumer practices. These, among other ideas, were constant rumors about the two next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Now that both have been revealed and detailed, we know most of the facts, though Microsoft has still been a little ambiguous about the facts. Now, many people (according to polls around the internet), including me, are going with the PS4 instead of Xbox One this fall, when the two come out. The reasoning being that Sony has gone against several of the policies that Microsoft has put forth that gamers do not like. However, despite the fact that Sony seems to be winning this battle, there is a large amount of ignorance towards Nintendo's Wii U.
Like the above meme states, the Wii U doesn't follow any of the anti-consumer policies that Microsoft has, and also hasn't lied about them like Sony (I'll get into that later). The main point of this blog will NOT be about convincing you to buy a Wii U, nor will it be bashing everything not Nintendo. Again, like I said in the disclaimer, I am stating my observations about the gaming industry at the moment, and how things haven't really changed.
Let's first look at something easy, which I also talked about in a recent blog: used games. Microsoft and Sony have both come out and said that they will leave it up to publishers to determine whether or not they allow their games can be purchased and used when, well, used. While many people were chanting when Jack Tretton announced that PlayStation 4 would support used games, he only meant first-party: again, it's up to publishers to decide. This doesn't mean that all third parties are going to be putting out games that can only be used new, but it still is an instance of Sony deceiving their fanbase. With the Wii U, there was NEVER a question of whether or not it would support used games-people have even complained about how it's a bit cumbersome to play Wii games on the console, which Nintendo has addressed. Though, everyone acts like Nintendo isn't doing this, and seems to be ignoring this instance of Nintendo going pro-consumer (hint hint-this is important later).
This can't be done on the GamePad...why?
Next, also, both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are getting support from tablets, and Vita and Smart Glass, respectively. This sort of interactivity may have been explored with the PSP, but the fact is that the Wii U is the first console that truly embraced the connection between two screens, seen in such titles as Nintendo Land, and New Super Mario Bros. U. Nintendo already has that screen included with the console also-both Sony and Microsoft have touted that "this game includes Vita/Smart Glass functionality!", but you have to spend a significant amount to get that functionality-Wii U has it out of the bat. Sure, third parties aren't doing it as much (hint hint-again, important later), but the fact is that this started first with Wii U, and is also most easily accessible with the Wii U. Shigeru Miyamoto states this pretty well in the following quote, from a TIME interview: "But the one thing that I think everyone needs to understand is that when you’re buying a Wii U, you’re buying a hardware system that comes with a tablet-like device and so if any of the other hardware systems were to try and include a tablet or device similar to the Wii U GamePad, those hardware systems would go up in price by easily a hundred dollars or more." While this isn't a huge issue, I just thought it was something else to be brought to light.
Now, for what is potentially the most controversial topic: always-online/DRM. So, this is more of a Microsoft vs. Nintendo thing, sans Sony. While many people are moving to the PS4 because of this move, Nintendo has also taken a stance against the policy, and actually gives very good warrants as to why the policy is bad in the first place: "Nintendo’s stance is that we realize not everyone in the world is connected over the Internet, and because of that we’re very much in support of providing offline experiences for those players who don’t have an Internet connection. ". This was also from Mr. Miyamoto, in the same interview with TIME. Following this though, Miyamoto went on to explain that Nintendo recognizes that the internet is becoming larger and more people in the world are using it, so they are taking advantage of that connectivity. To me, this is a win-win argument, because they're doing their best to cater to those who can't connect to the internet, as well as let people who do have the internet take advantage of the fact they can use it. In a recent interview, Microsoft's "Major Nelson" talked about how it was "their vision" with the Xbox One to do everything it does, and that's why it's always-online. However, the fact is that it's still not something everyone can take advantage of-that's why Nintendo's approach is more consumer-friendly. (Also, I don't have a reason for all the TV stuff, because the TV I play Wii U/PS2/soon-to-be-PS4 isn't connected to a cable box...Netflix!) And yet, it seems like Xbox One is going to sell more than the Wii U at launch, based on the rising pre-order numbers.
Nintendo's message to indies.
As one of my last main points-you've most likely guessed it-independent developers, as well as third party support. First, let's address what the industry affectionately calls "indies". Since the early days of being promoted on Xbox Live, indie developers have become much more popular, with some being held in even higher regards than some major AAA publishers/developers. Indeed, we've seen a major push, including high selling indie titles on Steam, and their featuring in Sony's E3 conference as well as Nintendo's E3 Direct. While this is all well and good, people seem to be focusing on the fact that Sony is winning the indie crowd, as they have attracted mass support from the indie community, and that the PS4 is going to kill the One indie-wise. However, despite the recent numbers saying that over 300 indie developers are working on PS4, that doesn't mean Nintendo isn't doing the same. In actuality, Nintendo has reached out to over 1000 indie developers, according to a statement from the Big N's CEO Satoru Iwata. Why aren't we seeing headlines about this? Sure, we may not know all about all these developers, but the fact that Nintendo has done this, reaching out to so many, is astounding-why do people decry their failure of third party support, when they may very well have enough support from the indie community to balance that? Even if Sony has both indie and third party support, that doesn't mean that Nintendo can't have a larger amount of indie support. Even such games as the recent Kickstarted A Hat in Time have been looked at by Nintendo of America-they are looking into the indie crowd.
Finally, here's what I was hinting about before-third party support. In the beginning, it looked like Nintendo was doing things right-they announced new games from third parties specifically for their consoles, and also had a video showing prominent developers discussing the potential for the Wii U. However, since that time, we've seen the Wii U lose several exclusive titles, with Rayman Legends being the one that caused the most controversy. Sure, this is understandable, considering the low-install base on the Wii U, but first-this seems to be something that both the consumer considering a Wii U and third parties like Ubisoft are ignoring. They say "I'm not buying a Wii U because it has no third party support!", and "We're porting our games elsewhere because there aren't enough people to buy the game!". If publishers took the time to think, they could come up with some common sense: put a good game out on a system, more people WILL buy the system for the game-for example, many people bought a 3DS for Ocarina of Time 3D, and the Vita for Persona 4 Golden. If you give an incentive for a consumer to buy a console, they'll buy it, and your support on that system will grow, so that means another entire market for you to dip into. Likewise, if more consumers buy a system, then more third parties will be likely to publish games for the system. This is a simple common sense argument-why don't people understand that? If you want games on a system, buy the system-everyone talks about "voting with their money" and going PS4-but if you think, that means that not buying the system means you vote that you don't want that system, and thus, games won't come from third parties. It's fine if you don't want the system, but I think this is just something to be thought on by those on the fence, publisher and consumer alike.
Plus, while Nintendo is of course, on the losing side with third parties, they are trying-they are doing their best to gain exclusives, as well as exclusive functionality with the GamePad, to create specific experiences that set them apart from One and PS4 versions of titles. No one can say Nintendo isn't trying-they just are stumbling a bit, and the previous and following paragraphs demonstrate, I think, why they're stumbling.
Used Games? I can't let you do that, Reggie.
There's one final other part that's a bit darker involving third parties, and is potentially a major reason that Nintendo is losing support from them. As shown before, Nintendo is going in the direction that is most for the consumer with the Wii U, while the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are both going in another direction, albeit at varying degrees. I think it it entirely possible that some third parties have abandoned the Wii U because they are going against this pro-consumer route, and want to be able to charge for used games. I am not naming any specific one-I'm not saying any do, I'm just saying it's a possibility. Just think-indie developers aren't going to be affected by used games, and thus this doesn't matter to them, but online capabilities do, because that is something that affects how they sell. That's why PS4 and Wii U are getting much more indie support compared to Xbox One. This is just another common sense thing I thought of, and well, that's just something I wanted to say was a possibility.
While I was writing this blog, an interview came out between Satoro Iwata and IGN, and Iwata said something that striked me, and falls a bit into this. Here's the quote: "We’re competing with each other in terms of who’s creating the most fun games. Unfortunately, however, as I saw the reports dispatched from E3 this year, they’re pretty much occupied by talk about which machine is more friendly to used games, or which machine is $100 cheaper than the other. I’m sorry that we’re missing the most important discussion – about video games.". While Nintendo is focused on creating games, and Microsoft and Sony are as well, Nintendo is undeniably the company most focused, considering Sony's boasting about their policies (as well as lying about them) and Microsoft's "vision". Now, in the end, I'm simply going to say this: in this time of the industry, we're really starting to see a shift towards anti-consumer practices, as well as the Console Wars becoming even more ferocious. And I want to say this: don't say Nintendo's doing the wrong thing, because, even if they are failing, they are taking hits so they can best serve the consumer-they truly do care about their fan base, and care about creating new experiences for us to explore.
Of course, though...despite this...
Sound a bit familiar?